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Xtreme Bug Takeover!! Brookfield Zoo

Last Wednesday, it was literally the attack of the bugs! Xtreme Bugs that is, as our Houseful headed out to Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois for a special showing of their brand new exhibit opening today!

The ladybug, Sir Twizzler, and Lil’ Miss Twizzler and I set out for an early morning field trip to check out just what was so extreme about these little creatures.

When we arrived we were greeted by our own special bug:

Can you see how Sir Twizzler is staring at him with a sense of distrust? Cracks me up every single time I see this picture. You can’t see Lil Miss Twizzler, because I wore her most of the day – she’s exactly one pound and 6 ounces lighter than her brother. I can feel the difference too!

After getting checked in and being greeted by the wonderful staff, we made our way around to the first exhibit:

Harry’s Big Adventure was an exhibit set up to show off all of the bugs that one may come into contact with, through six distinct zones and their impact on our surroundings, the environment and ultimately, human lives. This guy right here was on display:

The tarantula. We also learned that the tarantula can also flick hairs off of its backside in the case where it can’t bite you to inject its poison. The hairs are irritants as well, and they usually aim for the eyes, nose and mouth of potential enemies.

Before we entered the exhibit though we were propositioned with the aspect of chowing down on some Crispy Cajun Crickets. You read it right. Crickets. House Crickets. Sauteed in butter and sprinkled with just the right amount of cajun seasoning. I would have tried them had they NOT been looking back at me from the sample cups.

The chef was even nice enough to remove all of the legs and antennae from them so they would get stuck in the teeth of those brave enough to try. I asked the ladybug if she wanted to try some and she said:

“NO! That’s YUCK!”

There you have it.

While in the exhibit, you will notice that they have several stations for children and adults alike to explore. There’s a house, sponsored by Terminix,  that is rigged to show you where pests can hide out at, and how to prevent it. They also have little lab coats provided by the sponsor of the exhibit where the children can check out all of the places to see if they do indeed have the pests present. And let me just tell you now, you should be prepared to see an albino cockroach somewhere in that house. I’m just saying. I wasn’t so prepared.

We got to see a myriad of bugs and even were offered the option to touch some. I passed, and so did the ladybug. There was a roach race – which I have video to – and a praying mantis (Harry) mealworms, beetles, dung beetles, ants and others.

This here is a waterbug. And I’m scared of them. Horribly. But I braved it just to get a photo for you guys. Send me lots of gifts.

The ladybug even found a life-sized version of herself:

The bug petting zoo, roach races and bug chef will only be available to see and interact with on the weekends though, so plan accordingly!

The best part to me were the animatronic bugs that were created for the exhibit while you walk along the path. I got lots of pictures which I think that I will end up putting into another post, but here are a few, just know that each bug had a large informative placard to go along with it:

Xtreme Bugs opens today at the Brookfield Zoo until September 3, 2012. Zoo hours are 10:00 – 5:00 pm on weekdays and 10:00 – 6:00 pm on weekends through May 25th. They will then start their summer hours – 9:30 am – 6 pm daily with extended hours to 7:30 pm on Sundays through September 3, 2012.

A 20% discounted combo ticket including general admission and admission to Xtreme BUGS can be purchased at participating Dominick’s stores for $16 for adults and $10.80 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and over. Otherwise admission to Xtreme BUGS is $5 for adults and $3 for children 3-11 and seniors 65 and over (half price for zoo members)

I say go – and enjoy yourselves and ask lots of questions! It’s only once that you get to cuddle up with bugs and not reach for the nearest rolled up newspaper or magazine.

~Make It A Fantastic Day!

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